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Two San Joaquin USA landfills prepare to fire up power plants

Two San Joaquin USA landfills prepare to fire up power plants

Two major local landfills - one private, the other operated by the county - are within months of finishing new power plants that will take harmful methane gas created by the decomposition of garbage and convert it into electricity.

The plant at privately owned Forward Landfill, a San Joaquin Partnership Investor, southeast of Stockton will have a capacity of greater than 4.3 megawatts, enough to power about 4,380 average homes at any one time.

The other plant, at the county's Foothill Landfill near Linden, weighs in at 3.5 megawatts - roughly enough to power a city the size of Lathrop.

The projects were described as helping planet and pocketbook.

"Certainly, from an environmental perspective, we want to make sure we capture all the methane and use it in a resourceful way," said Kevin Basso, general manager of landfill owner Allied Waste. "And it makes sense economically."

Officials call Air Alert

Officials call Air Alert

Increasing ozone levels and possible smoke impacts from lingering wildfires have prompted local air officials to declare the air basin’s second Air Alert episode of 2013 beginning today (Monday, Sept. 9) and continuing through Wed., Sept. 11. The Air Alert is effective in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the Valley portion of Kern counties.

2014 calendar contest seeks entries

2014 calendar contest seeks entries

The San Joaquin Valley Air District is seeking creative student artists to submit their work for the 2014 Healthy Air Living Kids’ Calendar contest. The deadline for entries is Oct. 7.

The annual, four-color, bilingual, wall  calendar is produced with the help of Valley students from kindergarten through high school, who create engaging artwork illustrating the ways Valley residents can live healthy air lives, with accompanying clean-air messages. Twenty-thousand copies are printed and distributed free of charge to schools, community groups, healthcare facilities, churches and nonprofit organizations throughout the Valley.

Guidelines for creating a winning Healthy Air Living calendar entry:

Rim Fire sends smoke to Valley floor

Rim Fire sends smoke to Valley floor

Health caution through weekend for most of air basin

The Rim Fire in Tuolumne County has prompted local air officials to issue a health cautionary statement for smoke impacts in six Valley air basin counties: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno and Tulare, especially the foothill and mountain areas. The caution is in place through Labor Day weekend, when visitors will be traveling to the Sierra Nevada.

If winds should shift, Kings and the Valley portion of Kern counties may become affected, as well.

“Our rule of thumb is, if you can see and smell smoke, you are probably being affected,” said Samir Sheikh, the Air District’s director of air quality analysis. In that event, air officials advise residents to take whatever health precautions their conditions warrant.

Downtown Stockton Alliance shifts to new plug-in electric vehicles for maintenance fleet

The Downtown Stockton Alliance has switched to an all-electric fleet of maintenance vehicles. A nearly $100,000 grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District allowed the switch to the new Polaris Ranger buggies, which may be small, but are capable of hauling up to 1,700 pounds in cargo.    They're even four-wheel drive.

Even the drivers are still sometimes surprised when they fire up their buggies and are met with virtual silence.

"This is such a step up," worker Brandon Trahan said as he and his partner pressure-washed graffiti off a San Joaquin Street structure.

It'll be quieter, and it should be cheaper. Last year the alliance burned through $17,000 in gas for its John Deere vehicles. Maintenance costs were also increasing as those vehicles got older.

Now some of that gas money can be spent on other things, Trahan said.

"It allows us to do more for the community," he said.

Smoke from Aspen, other fires infiltrates Valley floor

Smoke from Aspen, other fires infiltrates Valley floor

New health caution for the eight-county air basin

The Aspen Fire and other fires burning in northern California and Oregon have prompted local air officials to issue a health cautionary statement for smoke impacts in the entire Valley air basin. This includes San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties as well as the foothill and mountain areas.

Did you see the ring around the sun?

Did you see the ring around the sun?

If you were outside today, you may have noticed a giant ring around the sun. That ring is actually the reflection of ice crystals from high cirrus clouds, according to EarthSky.org

The ring was seen all over the area by News10 viewers, including Roseville and Stockton. Did you get a chance to see it?